Zulama staffers playing Tsuro
Today’s lunchtime game at Zulama was Tsuro, a beautifully crafted board game. We had 4 players. We played twice, and each round took less than 20 minutes. We can best describe the game as “Chutes and Ladders meets Chess”. The game play mimics the metaphor of choice vs destiny in life. Ideal gameplay involves thinking ahead by about 3 turns, which hurt my brain but is a fun dynamic. We think the ideal is probably 4 players. I’ve also played it with 2, but thought 4 was more interesting and fun.
Overall, we liked the game, but thought there was too little control by each individual player to really make it feel like a true strategy game. It was a fun, enjoyable play, but we aren’t clamoring for a rematch.
The board, pieces, and box.
Some of us wanted to sit and ponder our moves for a while, while others were more impulsive. If you’ve played this game, did you feel the same way, and/or did you put a time limit on each player for each turn?
And yes, we were eating El Burro tacos. Mmmmmmm!
You can see our scores and more information about the game below!
||How do the pieces feel, look, and function?
||Is the game easy and fun to set up?
||Are the rules clear & concise?
|Quality of Gameplay
||There are lots of different kinds of games. Fun games, serious games, fillers, epic journeys. This rating is for how well the game does what it sets out to do.
||10 being “I want to play it all the time” down to 1 which is “I never want to play this thing again!”.
|Overall group score
||Each person gives an overall score, this is the average of all scores
|# of Players
||2 to 8
|Mfg Suggested Ages
|Mfg Suggested Playing Time
||Creative Child: Game of the Year & Preferred Choice
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: Favorite Games
Geek Dad Golden Bots
||Tsuro of the Seas
Zulama helped contribute to this enlightening report that was released recently from the Digital Promise, the Education Industry Association, and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education.
Download the report—it’s worth your time!
Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing
Educational Value from Making “Stuff”
American RadioWorks has conducted a great interview of Sylvia Libow Martinez, Co-Author of “Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.”
Many educators say the best way to learn is by combining what you learn in school with real-world practice and that making something yourself or with peers is its own reward.
Sylvia discusses how standardized testing has narrowed the focus in today’s classrooms. She says that many of the engineers and game designers she has worked with were “bad at school”. Yet they are incredibly creative and inventive people.
Sylvia’s Top 3 Classroom Game-Changers:
- 3D Printing
- Robotics and Fabrication
These tools all focus on “making”, while also incorporating computing. The use of computers can help students iterate and gain practice using the same technology they will find in the workforce. Any time you can make the learning experience more authentic, for example, by bring real scientists’ tools into the classroom, students better understand the connection between school and the “real world.”
The podcast: Invent to Learn
Zulama: Making Games in the Classroom
Making and making games are real-world activities that are at the core of every Zulama course. We’re already on this!!
Examples of work students have made in their Zulama courses:
Students work on their “barnyard” game.
Students work on their project in Zulama’s Game Design Studio course.
Zulama’s courses give students the skills they need to succeed in the 4th fastest growing industry. Still not convinced that games are a valid, fast growing career path? Social media games (a sub-division of video and other types of games) are expected to be a billion-dollar industry in the next 5 years.
Here are my “Top Six” takeaways from TechForum in Westchester, NY last Friday:
- Great analogy from Mike St Pierre:
Social Media = Embassy —>> Outpost.
His presentation explains in more detail, but the idea is that the Embassy is the home base, the social media that is controlled and organized by a district. The Outposts are the frontier where all the activity takes place, for instance, in Twitter streams.
- All of the speakers in one breakout session about shaping a social media plan for your school agreed that when schools exude a positive social media presence, the community responds positively. It’s simple human behavior that we see in lots of social interactions, but with schools so “paranoid” about using social media, it was refreshing to hear teachers and administrators agree that giving up control can actually lead to a successful social media presence.
- Technology infrastructure continues to be a huge concern and cost for schools. Most adults in the U.S. take fast, plentiful Internet access for granted, especially in business locations. Yet for a myriad of reasons, schools are having trouble catching up.
- Chromebooks are poised to surpass iPads (and most other tablets and laptops) as the defacto school-provided computing device.
- The message in keynote speaker Jon Bergmann’s presentation was uncannily similar to this article that just appeared in Wired magazine. Basically, teachers should facilitate inquiry-based learning.
- Cool new “tools” that I discovered: Tagboard, Smore, and Educlipper.
Thanks to the Sprout Fund for sponsoring my trip! More info and applications for conference stipends and other Sprout programs can be found here.